Academy Responds To Universities Accord Report

The Australian Academy of Science welcomes the Australian Universities Accord Final Report released today.

Academy President Professor Chennupati Jagadish said the report warns that unless the nation continues to produce more knowledge, skills, opportunities, and research, then we face a decline in Australia’s productivity, innovation and standard of living.

One of the recommendations the Accord makes to avoid this happening is for the Australian Government to commission a cross-portfolio examination of Australia’s research funding and develop a strategy that sets targets for Australia’s overall spending on R&D.

“The Academy has been calling for both these initiatives for several years, including in our latest pre-Budget submission, so we are pleased to see these recommendations in the report,” Professor Jagadish said.

“The report underlines the critical need to modernise our national science and innovation system.”

The report makes several other significant recommendations that, if implemented, will positively impact scientific research and education in Australia.

These include:

  • Investing in fundamental research
  • Planning and investing in the next generation of Aussie scientists
  • Increasing government funding to university science courses
  • Calls for government and industry to better utilise university science
  • Predictable long-term funding for NCRIS

The Academy also welcomes recommendations to establish an Australian Tertiary Education Commission, funding the full cost of research and a Higher Education Future Fund.

Professor Jagadish said the report makes clear that Australia must improve equity and access to tertiary education – a recommendation strongly supported by the Academy.

“Universities do more than just train people for the workforce: they help prepare our nation for the future, they educate our citizens to think critically, to question, and to critique with the confidence to challenge and to lead,” Professor Jagadish said.

“The transformative nature of education should be available to all.”

The Academy thanks Professor Mary O’Kane and the review panel for producing this report and calls on the Federal Government to implement its recommendations.

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